When South Korea Meets Maksimir: How Are Dinamo's Newest Players Finding Zagreb?

By 1 March 2018

When two South Korean footballers take on Dinamo Zagreb. 

In mid-January, Dinamo was upgraded by two young footballers from South Korea. Kim Hyunwoo and Kim Gyu Hyeong, the two great talents of Ulsan Hyundai FC born in 1999, arrived at Maksimir, reports on March 1, 2018.

Both players have been working with Dinamo's youth teams where they are training under coach Tomislav Rukavina.

“They are real professionals, and something might come of them both. Stopper Kim Hyunwoo, who was named the best player of the Mladen Ramljak Memorial Tournament, has made us immediately aware there is no doubt about his class, and on our junior team will be Kim Gyu Hyeong, who has shown his talent but still needs to acclimate to Croatia fully, but they have just been here one month,” said Rukavina. 

The South Korean duo is already enjoying their time at Maksimir. Aware that there is a great opportunity to be showcased throughout Europe, this an opportunity both players do not want to miss. 

"For now I'm really happy with everything, and so far I’ve heard a lot of nice things about Croatia. I'm trying to communicate in Croatian because I want to learn it as soon as possible," Kim Gyu Hyeong told Goal, and continued:

"I think I am finding Zagreb well; the food is good, and I usually go to the restaurant right next to the stadium where there is fantastic steak, potatoes, eggs, and bread offered, which is all very tasty, and a bit different than in South Korea. Clearly, there is a different culture here, but all the players talk to us in English, so it's so much easier. We communicate in Croatian with the coach, so I am trying to learn the language as soon as possible to understand it better.” 

How did their arrival to Dinamo happen at all?

"Branko Hucika watched my matches in South Korea, and he was happy with what he saw, after which we were invited to the Memorial Tournament of Mladen Ramljak, where, unfortunately, I did not play because of a minor injury, yet my agent introduced me to Dinamo. I thank the people from Dinamo and Branko Hucika on the transfer that has been made. Honestly, I did not have much time to make a decision, but as soon as I heard about Dinamo, I decided to come.”

Mislav Oršić, a Croatian, played at Hyeong's former club in South Korea. Did he speak with him before coming to Zagreb?

“How would I not know about Mislav Oršić? He is one of Ulsan's favorite players! We play in a similar position, so I tried to learn many things from him. Oršić is very fast, has great dribbling skills and attack, and an incredible shot. I never met him, and I have not even been introduced to him yet.”

Kim Gyu Hyeong’s plans for the future?

"I believe in myself and our quality, so be sure that we have both come here to show what we know, and that we can play for the junior and B team, and then the senior Dinamo team. But it is necessary to go step by step, first to acclimate to the new environment. After all, we have to prove here that other European clubs will be interested in young players from South Korea. So to know what I have to do for them, I must be good at Dinamo. I've been training since I was 12, I want to make progress, and my progress will depend greatly on my game at Dinamo.”

And in the end, a bit about Croatian football.

"Of course, in South Korea, we know about Croatia and the strength of your team. You have a lot of good players, so it's normal for everyone to know about Modrić, Rakitić, Mandžukić, Lovren, Kovačić, Srna, Perišić and Oršić. Many of the great Croatian players have gone through Dinamo’s system to big European clubs, and I see my chance,” Kim Gyu Hyeong concluded. 

Translated from